Brisbane to Hervey Bay (Fraser Island) 300km (1,320km so far)...
01.09.04: Well, the rotten weather followed us to Fraser. We got the early morning ferry in the pouring rain and so stayed in the car until we reached the Island. We had rain all night which made a hell of a racket on the tent plus, doing the '3am toilet run' was not alot of giggles! Anyway, we survived and were ready for our Fraser adventure.
The night before we had popped into a 4WD hire company and asked for some driving tips since Paul hadn't driven on sand before and we heard it could be tricky. The chap was really helpful, came up with a bit of an itinerary for us as well as showing us his company's driving video. Apparently the rain actually worked in our favour as they hadn't had any for about 4 months and the soft sand on Fraser was making alot of tourists come a cropper! But, with the recent rain even the softest parts of the East Coast should be easier to negotiate. There are many tricks to driving in different sand conditions and lets just say we definitely committed them to memory! However, we felt much better having asked an expert rather than the usual Aussies trying to 'put the wind up a pom'!
We let our tyre pressure down to 30 so as to drive better and suddenly the adventure began - lots of giggles were had whilst travelling along the inland 'roads'. Bumping and swaying all over the place - driving here is a very physical experience and also eats diesel like nothing you've ever seen. Big tip, fill up the tank before coming to the island as the prices were hugely inflated.
The first place we headed for was Central Station, this was where all the loggers used to live, a small area in the woodland. It now has a history of the area and island and is a good place to get orientated. We then moved on to Lake Wabby along inland tracks. Once there we did the hour's walk to the lake via the lookout. Lake Wabby is the deepest lake on the island but is slowly being engulfed by a massive sandblow. It was quite a sight, a pocket of deep lake with forest to one side and a huge sand dune to the other, you can still see the heads of the trees that have been swallowed up by it. We walked along the top of the sand, with no one else there...
We headed up the East Coast as suggested by our friend in the 4WD shop. Beach driving was easier in most places and really rather surreal. The best place to drive was on the wet sand but not too near the water. Half way up we stopped at Happy Valley Resort for lunch and a breather from the concentration required for driving on this island...on the beach always watch out for "washouts" - where stranded water up the beach makes its way in little rivlets to the sea. However, these little canals can have high sides taht are almost invisible on approach and the car goes down with an almightly bump.
Anyway, we headed up to Dundubara Campsite, a state campsite as are the majority of sites on the island. We paid just $8 per night for each night's stay. The site was friendly and cosy and so we set up and had dinner in the fading light by the side of a camp fire that Paul had whipped up (took alot of hard work as everything was soaking!!).
02.09.04: We awoke at 5.45am so as to get some driving in on the beach before the tide came in. No rain this morning and...this turned out to be our only dry and sunny day on Fraser - perfect for our plans. We headed further up the East Coast to Indian Head, this was where driving got a little scary for the first time, very soft sand and the car had to work VERY hard - thought we might get stuck but, all ok.
We parked the car at Indian Heads and walked up the beach to Middle Rock and Champagne pools. Fabulous views and a nice (if cold) dip in the pools with the waves breaking over the rocks. Then, took part (briefly) in a photo shoot for a magazine...that's what they said but what travel mag wants a picture of a beautiful beach on Fraser with two of the whitest poms around!?? Hmmm... Next, back to the car and back down the beach, passing the Pinnacles and the Maheno Wreck (see photos). This time we camped at Lake Boomanjin, just a small enclosure in the middle of the woods, no one else there and...in order to go to the toilets you had to leave the fenced area and venture into dingo territory! WEll, as we were the ONLY ones there let's just say other areas were used throughout the night and the dingos were not tested! The lake nearby was beautiful as with everywhere here.
This was definitely our most isolated and spooky camping experience so far!
03.09.04: Spotted our first and only dingos this morning. There we were quietly having breakkie and these two very well groomed "dogs" wandered by and then disappeared up the road. We packed up and were off to find warm showers (as none at this site). Then, on for more sightseeing. We stopped at Lake Birrabean to have a look, whitest sand ever! Then on to Eurong where we encountered our first tarmacked area of the island! Then, on to Central Station where we set up camp, and got our walking boots on. We walked to Lake Basin and then on to Pile valley, the rain was coming down but that only made it nicer as we were sheltered by the rainforest which was so green and glistening, the creek was fullof completely clear water and the whole walk reminded us of a fairytale...we kept expecting to see a troll leap out! A real wonderland. After walking a good 10 km we retired back to the campsite and relaxed.